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Our Workshop: Making Togetherness

SHARING TIME + SHARING SPACE = SHARING GROWTH Our Workshop is piloting a simple program of sharing as a strategy for inclusivity and change

Photo of Our Workshop
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The apartheid government actively built the city of Cape Town as a series of segregated areas for the sole purpose of exclusion and separation of different race groups. They did a very good job of keeping us all apart, particularly after the Group Areas Act of 1950 forcibly removed non-whites from the city centre and mandated racial segregations and hierarchies. Langa, the township in which Our Workshop is based, was created in 1927 and until 1994 was designated for Black Africans only. Sadly, not that much has changed since 1994. In a way, the spatial segregation has become a bigger problem in the 21st Century, due to rising property prices and gentrification in the city centre and totally inadequate service delivery, living conditions, and transport systems for, in and around the areas of informal housing further 'out' in the townships - where the vast majority of people live. Cape Town is one of the most economically unequal places in the world, and it remains largely segregated by race. Townships like Langa continue to be "no-go zones" for most whites in nearby communities, and white communities have fortified themselves out of fear. The barriers between these communities are not just physical - they are also psychological, as people have learned to fear, distrust, and resent each other. Our families all lived through legislated, internalised systems of (mis)education and deeply institutionalised racism and white supremacy. Even the youth we call 'born frees' today people born after the end of apartheid - are still mostly raised and educated in a dysfunctional version of this painful and fractured reality. It is a very urgent societal, physical and psychological problem and Our Workshop was started in late 2016 as an attempt to create a space for integration between people from different parts of the city, different cultural backgrounds, races and economic circumstances using a seemingly simple solution: we make things together.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our Workshop has a long-term plan for connection and creativity. We have chosen a site in a cultural centre called Guga S'thebe in Langa, where transportation access is still poor and work to inspire other people from Cape Town with easier mobility to join us here. We are open to everyone, including visiting foreigners, but our main targeted beneficiaries are locals from Langa and other surrounding communities. Since we moved in last December, we have attracted an amazingly dedicated and diverse group of members who are around every single day. With this crew we are trying to build ourselves (trial and lots of error) into a member-managed and member-run space for innovation + sharing. We hope to ultimately use this pilot phase and the community processes we are developing to start similar linked spaces around the city, perhaps eventually in other African cities and around the world where people need to share, slow down, and connect across historical divisions.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

We are the first SHARED, free, community-focused art/design/craft space in any cultural centre in the Western Cape, and we are already working! Participating in our community benefits individuals, offering them: > the means to express themselves creatively > a place to belong > a means to supply some of their needs by making things themselves > a means to financial support by selling what they make > a means to support the planet through upcyling waste materials However, Our Workshop is not designed only to meet individual needs: it is also a novel way to help heal our city and the still-bleeding wounds of division. It is a space of encounter, a place to develop social bonds and trust, and place to share and connect. Our idea is in fact a functioning reality, but we do not have the resources to continue to grow without support. We need to start to build a more robust organisational infrastructure and establish systems to ensure our longevity.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Pilot: I have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Our Workshop (named to be as inclusive a space as possible) focuses on using post-consumer waste + simple craft and making techniques as a medium for personal and interpersonal growth. We have a space (which is open to anyone and everyone to use for free), very basic tools and equipment and a broad collection of ‘rubbish’. With these basics we run workshops for the public, to encourage people to join us and find out about our principles and methods. https://www.facebook.com/OurWorkshopCT/

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Our Workshop was originally started in Harrington Str in Cape Town city centre. We moved to Guga S'Thebe in Langa township in Dec 2017 because we realised that Our Workshop wasn't able to provide a safe space to make things and collaborate to the people who really needed it. We believe that spending time, sharing skills and making things bridges divisions that exist between people of different races, ages, genders and economic backgrounds and this needs to happen in the right place.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Peace = we work to build community and inter-cultural, inter-generational, inter-racial connection. We encourage clear, open communication and mutual support, even among those who have been historically divided. Prosperity = we share hand-skills and design-thinking skills without being didactic or assumptive as we actively assist with promoting our members' work. We support those trying to find new ways to generate income and address the huge wealth inequality in our city.
 Planet = our entry-point for craft, art-making and our version of 'loose entrepreneurship training' is to use 'waste' materials to create beauty and functionality while learning about often overlooked environmental issues in informal settlement life in Cape Town.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

A core principle of Our Workshop is to decentralise knowledge production through collaboration at Our Workshop as well as through connecting with other creative professionals and spaces in and around Cape Town (theatre space in Khayelitsha township, women’s weaving group in Nyanga township, education center at the Zeitz MOCAA, V&A Waterfront waste depot). Making meaningful connections with the people in these spaces will help to create a network of resources that extends beyond Cape Town city center. Fundamental to this process is the integrity of Our Workshop as a group; the passionate members we have, help to guide our movements and our direction; connections we make beyond Langa serve to nuture new (and old) skills, develop and engage with different ways of making and communicating, and empower Our Workshop members through integrated relationships. On the flip side, people that we interact with outside of OW gain these integrated, collaborative and compassionate relationships too.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Our Workshop gains its strength and dynamism from its varied group of members who are eager to share knowledge and learn. We rely on being fluid so that we can work with the community we are situated in and meaningfully reflect their strengths. We are not here to decide how a community should run or what they should find value in producing. OW members are steady in their convictions, thorough, ingenious, playful, positive, open-minded and enigmatic in making and in collaborating (see videos).

Geographic Focus

Langa, Cape Town - for now

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

We are adopting a “slow and steady” approach, since change should be gradual not rushed. We are proposing a three-year span, especially if GHR will be an available and involved funding partner, as mentioned in the webinar. If we can check in often and start to find really effective, functional, new and better ways of reporting (and can therefore reflect on our results and be advised by the global network, and by IDEO), we have a greater chance of growing deeply rather than too fast, too broadly.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No
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Team (21)

Kgomotso's profile
Kgomotso Dithebe

Role added on team:

"Member"

Our's profile
Heath's profile
Heath Nash

Role added on team:

"Founder and director at Our Workshop 182-070 NPO"

Gina's profile
Gina van der Ploeg

Role added on team:

"Admin assistant"

Lonwabo's profile
Lonwabo Vimbi

Role added on team:

"member"

chulumanco's profile
chulumanco feni

Role added on team:

"member"

Wanda's profile
Wanda Kumkati

Role added on team:

"member"

ZUKILE's profile
ZUKILE MALAPANE

Role added on team:

"member"

Lotte's profile
Lotte De Haan

Role added on team:

"Creative director and co-founder of Our Workshop"

Josh's profile
Josh Phillips

Role added on team:

"Industrial design student Btech Is this you Josh??"

Luvuyo's profile
Luvuyo Mpoza

Role added on team:

"member"

johnny's profile
johnny alvaro

Role added on team:

"member"

Richard's profile
Richard Mandongwe

Role added on team:

"member"

Ulrich's profile
Ulrich Meyer-Hollings

Role added on team:

"dataman"

Nadia's profile
Nadia Scheffer

Role added on team:

"member - kelp"

khanyisiwe's profile
khanyisiwe plaatjies

Role added on team:

"member"

Sam's profile
Sam G

Role added on team:

"member"

Michelle's profile
Michelle Jones-Phillipson

Role added on team:

"member"

Sizwe's profile
Sizwe Shumane

Role added on team:

"member"

Kristen's profile
Cephus's profile
Cephus Nono

Role added on team:

"member"

View more

Attachments (4)

OW, urgent need .pdf

Our Workshop design criteria flow diagram

OW design strategy .jpg

A way of working to implement our future growth

connection collectiion 2 .pdf

This document, created by Lotte De Haan who interned with us last year for six months while completing her honours at Design Academy Eindhoven, is as shareable as possible. Specifically made for WhatsApp because it is generally the most widely accessible medium in South Africa capable of data transfer. It is a project we have started to share in Langa ONLY JUST THIS WEEK... so we should be able to show results from it soon. It perfectly represents our values and principles, and embodies our work

Play book OurWorkshop Final!.pdf

This playbook (also design by Lotte De Haan, from last year during her internship) is a rundown of what we do and more importantly telling newcomers how to do it. It's out of date now, because we have moved from the old space but it shows our attempt to allow for scaling and to start figuring out how to make the whole package shareable and to create continuity over time.

81 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Ishaq null
Team

One organization that serves a similar community is the Kliptown Youth Program (www.kliptownyouthprogram.org.za). Their approach focuses more on tutoring and education, but as another program working to empower youth growing up in a township, they might be useful to connect with if you haven't already.

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

Alex Nana-Sinkam 
Hello I hope you're well... I'd like very much to get feedback on the proposal Our Workshop  submitted and why it doesn't fit into the second round of the challenge. I've tried emailing Ashley with no response. I understand that you're probably busy, but I thought the whole point of this portal was to make funding processes more human-centred, and that isn't happening here at all. I thought as per the webinar that you were trying to shift the application process from submissions 'sent into the void' with no response... to something better.
many thanks,
Heath Nash 

Photo of Alex Nana-Sinkam
Team

Hi Heath Nash 
Thanks for your kind note. I've received your email from Ashley Tillman  and am following up directly now. Appreciate your work in the Challenge and desire to gather more feedback.
Look forward to being in touch,
Alex

Photo of Kounkuey Design Initiative
Team

Heath this is such a wonderful, needed, clever and yet simple project. Amazing what can happen when we apply a little imagination to waste materials, and when we come together in a creative space to bridge social and historical divides. “Making things together” truly is the best way to connect with others. We agree with other commenters that this could and should happen around the world!

We would love to hear more about the way workshops are run/facilitated, given your emphasis on decentralized knowledge production. What kinds of tools/methods do you use to ensure a productive environment while keeping things open and relaxed? Is there a workshop leader? Do members take it in turns to share their methods and skills?

How do you attract new members to the workshop? Do you do any community outreach? If not, do you think you will need to do so as you expand?

We’re also interested to know how you envisage the organization growing and solidifying in structure while retaining its member-driven ethos and fluidity. What will you do to retain the current dynamism and openness of the space as you grow and become more established?

We’d love to connect with you and share ideas for creative community workshops – they are the bread and butter of our own “participatory process” to design Productive Public Spaces. Do reach out to us at mail@kounkuey.org if you want to continue the conversation!

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

Hey again!

Thanks for your words of support for our work.

I'll try to respond to your queries below!

1 how are workshops run/facilitated?
We are extremely chill, and things are very disorganised, but directed (e.g. around one medium, one technique or an invited guest and their work). We're still experimenting to find what best suits 'internal' workshops (for our members in Langa for example - of which we've only recently had 1 about printmaking which was AMAZING), and workshops we all run together as a team for guests from other areas of Cape Town... which are supposed to be fund-raising efforts, but have not yet really helped in that respect (but we are doing one such event a month in order to build some kind of consistency... - we'd love to do one every week, but we don't have any capital and are working towards that as a goal as we get things in order). There's no specific workshop leader, we take it in our stride and also have guest artists/makers in that role... we can't afford to pay someone to even be a studio manager, so essentially we all have no choice but to work together to keep everything running... So this pennilessness of ours has had it's own function in many ways - I think it's great that we haven't moved into a community with cash to spend, but with commitment and integrity and in need of assistance and membership!! So the idea of BUSINESS PLAN first etc etc and FUNDING AND RESEARCH before implementation is I think not so important. Rather to be as adaptive as possible, and build relationships and build the organisation together.

2 new members - how do we???
New artists, makers and craftspeople come every week!! Word must be spreading - I have asked how people learn about the space, but without luck yet...
I don't understand the term 'community outreach' - could you clarify please???

3 How do we envisage the org growing and solidifying???
No idea! We are truly working together to do this, and we learn literally as we go along - I really think this is important. We are enlisting everyone in the group as thinking partners and idea generators!!! we aren't imposing anything... However, this is also why NOW, we do need to get some support - to be able to implement some kind of recording and crystallising processes... to be able to 'catch' the work and be able to build a toolkit for re-implementation.

I'd love to connect further! Thanks for this... I'll drop you a mail now to say hi... I don't know who I'm speaking to though!!

our email is ourworkshopct@gmail.com

soon,
Heath

Photo of Kounkuey Design Initiative
Team

Hi Heath,

Thanks so much for all your clarifications. So exciting! We're replying to your email too.
To answer your question, "Community outreach" is a term we use to describe how we "reach out" to local members of the community for a particular reason/goal, whether it's inviting them to come to a workshop like yours; understanding the challenges and needs in a neighborhood; or asking people to sign a petition or take some other action. It usually happens at the beginning of our projects and in the streets or other public areas with high foot traffic, so we can reach lots of people. We begin all our PPS projects with community outreach/research so we have a solid basis of knowledge from which to co-design a useful public space.

More widely, "Community engagement" means any method by which you work with the community toward a certain goal. Our community engagement strategies include outreach (described above) but also meetings, workshops, focus groups, etc. Our PPS model is based on "community-engaged design", which means the design of a PPS and accompanying programs happens through an in-depth series of community engagements. It's a bit like Our Workshop but often more structured due to the technical nature of a PPS project.

Does that clear things up? We'd be interested to hear other people's thoughts on these two terms.

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

Hey OKOK thanks!!
It's helpful; to get this clarification.
I received your email and I've just followed/liked your facebook page!!
Are your resources/toolkits in an open-source online format?

I'm looking forward to more comms with you all.

Photo of Adriana Santamaría
Team

Hi Heath!

Taking a look at your project I can see the importance of community management for the sustainability of "Our Workshop". Collective ownership is both a big challenge and a organic solution.

It wasn't clear to me if the project considers connecting the community with the communities they have been segregated from to create collectively. I can imagine how difficult it might be, but I highly suggest the project to try it. What sparks this in mind is the experience I have seen on communities of ex combatants that work together with the community they are trying to reintegrate with. Its amazing to see how their questions and needs are so similar once they start sharing. It give them a common ground to start a conversation.

Also, what a great team you have!

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

Ja... we have such a great crew!!! We really building something special. Thank god for WhatsApp. Its really helping!!!
Could you explain what you mean by 'community management' ??

soon,
Heath

Photo of Adriana Santamaría
Team

Oh yes! Whatsapp, great tool!

I understand community management as the ability a community has to self organize without requiring a third party to exist for them to keep running.

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

OK yes yes yes!!! this is what we hope for - to create such opportunities for many previously disadvantaged communities

Photo of Chris Lowe
Team

Dear Heath,

Your idea in creating dynamic and inclusive communities by bringing people together in the same space through creative activities is wonderful. If you need further inspiration, our submission has some overlap with your strategy towards creating inclusive spaces in disadvantaged communities including Johannesburg. I wish you much success in implementing your idea.

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

Thanks Chris!
I'll check your submission!
best,
Heath

Photo of Willoughby Eunice
Team

This project is very welcoming. I love the idea that it brings a sense of belonging to individuals that participate in the training which I think everyone yearns for.
How do you put items created to end use? This is a strategic part that will help people to participate more knowing fully well that whatever that is created in OW has value and end use. I think more collaboration in areas of arts and crafts expertise can be encouraged. An exhibition to the whole world as technology can make this possible. Social media is also a good platform and as time goes on, exchange programs can be arranged within cities and countries.
Available for discussions and brainstorming.

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

mmmmmm yyyyessss... Great ideas Willoughby... we use social media a lot - we are experimenting with instagram as a tool for project and progress reporting 'in-real-time'... and as our members are join gin instagram we are also all learning how best to utilise it. it is a powerful tool!!
our instagram is @ourworkshopct are you on instagram??

regarding how we put the items to end use... we are working on it!! I believe the process is going to take a while to really start infiltrating township (and other urban)life around Cape Town.

Time is the best test and we can't tell what will happen - so we focus on the process.

And we are making some great connections in this way... by sharing our work on social media and asking for people to join us.

THANKS!!!

Photo of David / Thomas Svarrer / Høyer
Team

Guys,

This is Mega. Its an impressive way of getting things done. Many of us white people are often thinking about how we can make good what generations before us did wrong.

Can you tell a little about what you would need to really sprout, spread your wings and scale up your initiative? It is really commendable what you do, and it deserves that you think about how you can successfully spread this concept without you being there.

Let us hear from your project, too, how you could see your project implemented together with our solar concentrator.

If you crack how to scale your initiative, then we would be happy to bring your contacts with us everywhere we go with the solar concentrator, because besides bringing solar light, heat, cooling and power to our beloved users, your initiative brings human light, and once you have conceptualized it, we would love to bring your light with us, for a better world.

Would you be interested in joining our team, where we, admittedly, are abit "dry" ? Rest assured though, that we are very lively people, even though we are techies many of us, and we are fully aware of, conscious about, and practical in our approach to technology - that solar concentrators, water, power etc., is in no way a solution to anything, unless we humans begin at the same time to treat each other much better.

I see our platform and our global outreach as an opportunity to work with you guys, and your approach is of a nature which I think can fit hand in glove with what we do.

May I recommend that you have a look at these guys who are growing trees in big numbers in Asia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka?? They have a project here on openIDEO, where the only thing we are not getting, is their blockchain approach/affinity, but, everything else they do, is admirable.

We are looking to hopefully work with them such that when we have put up solar concentrator with water harvesting, power generation, cooling etc., in a semiarid area, then maybe, just maybe, their technology and tree planting would replenish forests.

Our idea here in Nexus 7, and the reason for the name is, that we intend to create connected solutions, as it does not help to plant trees if the social structures and cultures and the daily livelihood demands cutting them down for firewood.

So our approach is kind of the opposite of forest clearing, in that we attempt to establish a clearing for reforestation.

What are your thoughts about this?

Sincerely
David & Thomas
Nexus 7 Solar Concentrator
Rational Intuitive IVS

Photo of Phill Carter
Team

Hello hello hello! I have been around a good number of projects and this one is very fun and productive. Its playful with fun results. It does several things at once. It is an honest easy place to be and do things with your hands. I promise to help more! Ive got ideas for sustaining projects... it remonds me of a makerspace / shared artist space with mentored or guided creation programs.

I can see this model expanding all over ... and i mean all over the globe!

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

Hey great to have you comment here Phil. Thanks for the feedback. We also look forward to working with you much much more!! The mention of the feeling in our space is great to hear because that’s what we also feel - a sense of fun and excitement and absolutely a sense of togetherness in building a new future as a real team... more members are welcome as you know! We all play to our strengths in this way and we are all choosing our way/s forward and figuring out how to do this equitably is the biggest part of the challenge - and will be the biggest outcome in many ways.

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

Awww sadly I can’t add you as a team member now as the contribution is locked!

Photo of Ashley Tillman
Team

Our Workshop Was excited to see your inter-cultural, inter-generational, inter-racial approach, can you explain in a little more detail, how you invite and foster a diverse group in your programing? Would also love to hear what you've learned from past workshops that you hope to bring into the next phase of your work. Looking forward to learning more!

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

Thanks! We are also excited to be using this platform and to be sharing our work in this forum. Also, as always, writing and answering questions concisely is such a valuable process, especially since we've been able to publicly share this whole journey with our team members in Langa. And this has made me realise how I can answer the second part of your question! We will facilitate some sessions with my laptop to ask each team member to answer about what they've individually learned from past workshop right here!!
Gina van der Ploeg let's arrange some time for this when I get back from joburg?

So how do we invite and foster a diverse group... by being actively inviting and consciously available to everyone who comes in for free, and by explaining our initial role for the community: a space for creative expression and play and exploration... and people clearly want and need this, because we attract more people across all metrics every week. At first it was a bit novel that a white guy was around all the time, but now I'm just Heath and everything is cool.
We've learned to let time happen.

Photo of Kgomotso Nhlapo
Team

The past few weeks have been really exciting working with different artist in an environment that is conducive to experiencing different mediums to work with. I like the fact that this space is allowing everyone to work together out of their comfort zones and try new things. I have learnt so much through the workshops that have been held by Our Workshop. I'm hoping this will continue because a lot of the youth will benefit from this, especially those residing in Langa

Photo of ZUKILE MALAPANE
Team

I've learned how to work with recycling, plastic tins. Plaster to make sculptures. I've learned its a lot. First and foremost how to collaborate with different artists and how to make an achievement out of that. I've also learned how to make mosaic with plastic, broken glasses, and how to make mosaic with cement. In Langa there was never a workshop like this, it was never even implemented at Guga S'thebe. Mister Heath our workshop founder.

Photo of Sizwe Shumane
Team

I learn more skills and Im so happy to c our art work go well now and here we meet good people every thing is good I happy.

Photo of Lonwabo Vimbi
Team

Thank you Heath to bring this opportunity to us because its my first time to work with waste materials upcycle and Our Workshop changed my life a lot.

Photo of chulumanco feni
Team

its a great opportunity for me to learn and to be more inspired by other creatives, from the beginning of the workshops i was confused about how to work around people and be free in terms of concentrating. now i can work and talk about my product and share the skills. In future i will explore more ideas and having great understanding of workshops of how to run and work on a an environment.

Photo of Luvuyo Mpoza
Team

What I've learned is that I can combine different art forms. For example I can use the tetra paks and try the printing we've done now. And I can use the tetra pak and embroidery. You can combine them if you think out the box. Also the tetra pats can be used inside the hut the initiate can stay in.

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

Hey Ashley so We’ve conducted a session of responses to this question about what our members have personally learned from past workshops in this thread. We will continue to add responses here as time passes.

Photo of geoffrey mosigisi
Team

Greeting!

It is good that the idea is creating room for prosperity and peace to people. What I wish to ask, how will you convince people to value products made from waste, they know that it is of little value to use something gotten from waste .thanks

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

Hey Geoffrey we are seeing people light up when they make the connection between a product they like and then see that it’s made from what they normally consider to be just rubbish. In the world today the problem of our waste is so widely acknowledged that it’s finally time for people to take note and listen when interesting ways to use waste are given to them. Through this work the simple fact that people’s Time is valuable is also very apparent, and running workshops with the broader public enables us to share this fact - that converting ‘waste’ into useful beautiful things is hard and that the time spent doing this is valuable. This sharing is an important way for us to make both money and to emphasise that How and Where and by Whom something is made is very important. Also, our emphasis on working with hand-craft to ultimately make finely crafted and long-lasting items is very important.

Photo of Marnie Glazier
Team

This is such an excellent project idea! I would love to collaborate!

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

Thanks very much Marnie... best thing is its not just an idea...!!! We're doing it already. We are lacking in certain areas of knowledge specifically around fundraising and administration. We're also seeing a space for more specific, perhaps traditional methods/processes for group-building or 'deep-level' individual growth... as more members join, we are going to need to maintain our principles of honesty and communication specifically... Up till now we have almost entirely been one crew, and newcomers will not have been through this journey with us... what are your areas of expertise/interest?

Photo of Marnie Glazier
Team

My specific focus within theatre/communication, is interpersonal/small group communication and collaborative team building for sustainable solutions. I'd be happy to talk about workshop ideas or helping with training and team building. My direct email is mjglazier71@gmail.com, or mglazier@hartnell.edu. Looking forward to talking more.

Photo of Lotte De Haan
Team

@heath nash yes we should make more personal connections between Europe and (south) africa. Over here you have no clue what is going on if you have not been to the continent. Information stays impersonal so we do not relate. I think we all move forward if there would be more sharing on an informal peoples level in addition to the collaboration on a more organisational and formal scale. If we could build and "information bridge" in which both parties are interested we could start a new intercontinental exchange. I think social media are great for that as well. More specifically spoken we could perhaps start with a sharing platform Design academy // Ourworkshop. For the students to get out of their design bubble and for OW members to learn techniques that they do not have access to in their daily environment...

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

Thanks for the reply Lotte. EXACTLY. I think there is a great deal to gain for everyone if no-one is looking to take advantage of the other party/parties!! I'm definitely going to start trying to engage the Design Academy in some way to start this as a suggested course of action. Based on the work we have done together, it is a really winning strategy for growth. Gina van der Ploeg Josh Phillips I need back-up to start this as a really important part of OW admin: connect to Dutch consulate, connect to Eindhoven academy. Lotte De Haan PLEASE URGENTLY find out who the right person/department is to speak with and get us the contact details as soon as possible!!

Photo of Gina van der Ploeg
Team

Sounds amazing Our Workshop would be so incredible to foster a lasting relationship with them!!

Photo of Kerry
Team

"...need to share, slow down, and connect across historical divisions." Our workshop is needed across the globe. So important to take time to make real connections and explore and create freely. Funding is so deserved.

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

hello Ashley Tillman and Alex Nana-Sinkam  I've been emailing for a few days with no response yet. Please advise:1 Please can you explain the research component of the points system? My whole life has been research for this work... where does this number come from?2 Whats the functionality of adding team members to this profile? I'd like it if they could help with the proposal... what else is that for?thanks
Heath Nash 

Photo of Ashley Tillman
Team

Hi Our Workshop great to have you in the Challenge. In case you missed my note over email. Wanted to make sure you knew the DQ score on your profile does not in any way impact how you will be evaluated in this Challenge. It's a way for you, and the OpenIDEO community to track collaboration in Challenges involvement over time, but for any Challenge we welcome returning and new participants. Second, you can add your whole team to your idea submission, but only the Idea owner can edit the submission. You can change who the owner is, through going to 'Edit Contribution' and under the 'Author' Section select 'Change Author.' Hope that helps!

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

yep. I got your mail and thanks for the clarification. We just finished our submission!!!!

Photo of Altbeker32
Team

Today I spent a few hours making stuff out of rubbish at Our Workshop. The brief was to use the materials available, to play with crafting techniques and to see what happens. I had the most amazing time: chatting to the workshoppers, listening to their stories, and dreams. And I made a thing or two... This is a group of very talented people. Designing. Making. Solving. Thank you Our Workshop. Jackie x

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

AND YOU!!! It was a pleasure to share our vibe with you this morning. Its great to see the workshop come to life when we get visitors and everyone starts to get excited. We hope that the AirBnB experience offering we had you sample today can assist us to make some cash in future - it hasn't yet, but it's a special thing for people to go through, and the team is learning about this process as a new opportunity for income as we all learn together...

This kind of thing is proof of concept that we see on a daily basis - that the interactions and little connections made while sharing skills and talking about innocuous things like how to stitch are actually quite significant moments of truth and are very grounding.

Photo of Vicky S.
Team

Hello! Your idea seems very interesting, and I'd love to know a bit more.

Could you give some examples of the types of traditional craft practices that would help foster your initiative? Would these pertain only to certain groups/peoples living in South Africa, or would you hope to achieve a more broad/international perspective by using craft practices from other countries and peoples? Also, just to clarify, when you mean craft, are you referring to artisan-style objects or local community building?

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Thanks! Hi Vicky

We like to share skills that are useful for life - and things that anyone can walk away with as a new field of knowledge... and/or less fear around that material or technique. So we have done simple but useful things like the basics of hand-stitching (good for mending etc but can also be used for large scale construction!), working with wire and pliers (often people who havent used steel wire think it's too 'spiky' but its not!), and crochet (using mostly waste materials) to name some - and please look at out proposal more later once I've updated it properly because we have done quite a few such things!!
But we have also tried more abstract ideas like 'making mistakes' - in which the magic of the unintended slip of the hand or the actively destructive blow of a hammer (for example) can lead to wonderful and unexpected results...

So to your second question... the idea is not specific to SA craft practice but to the idea of hand-work instead of tech for example. We do also strive to include and try to revive/hold on to local traditional practices as much as we can - and would like to do this more as we grow... We would like to see spaces like this mushroom in future -based on our pilot and our process of figuring out how to really run a member-driven space... not so easy...
We would also love to cross-pollinate with other traditional crafts for example imagine working with traditional japanese 'living treasures' and to transfer that kind of work to a new audience of makers!!! This will also be covered more in the final draft. Its a long-standing dream to try to embed the old ways of making (all around the world these practices and techniques are dying) into contemporary craft and art practice...
About the definition of craft - I have a lot to say about that and its a long story... but suffice to say Craft as Hand-Making (beautifully - and yes artisinally). And Making as Community Building and as a way of creating Purpose and Pride in peoples lives and in communities.
WOW thanks! This has helped to remind me of a lot of things I need to include in the proposal!
Thanks!

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Team

The concept of creating non-traditional crafts in SA seems very alluring. I also love how that could give the people who are part of your initiative a way to gain cultural awareness from other parts of the world. A small step goes a long way and the type of work you are describing would definitely do that. Congrats!

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thank you!!!

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Team

Dears,

I am connected with what you guys are trying to do. Continue connecting people around culture / Art.
I would love to share my article about an Art space I intiated and furnished with upcycled furniture in my home town.

https://www.facebook.com/Boulevardportsaid/
Buzz me if you need help or questions regarding setting an artist hub based on green innovation.
Best,
Ibrahim Abougendy 

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Team

that sounds interesting Ibrahim - we'd would love to see the upcycled furniture...

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Team

Good job from Our Workshop.
this is the way forward to achieve the best racial, cultural and generational connection.

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Hola!! Wow, thanks so much Abubakar!!!

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Team

okay ndiyanqinelana bc our workshop help as a lot bc kuzima ufumana indayo yoku zibonakalisa uba wezantoni bc i kuzima ukulele artist..

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Awesome Gina van der Ploeg Heath Nash  please remind to get translation so can respond

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Hey Heath Nash I will check with Lonwabo Vimbi but as far as I can translate he is saying that he agrees that Our Workshop is the best because its a place that can help the artist to grow!

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Team

As a local artist from Langa, Our workshop has been the best thing ever happen in Langa. I am also a concerned resident of Langa, being part of the organisation has open doors for me and other local artists. The community is also benefiting from the organisation, with our after school programs keeping them off street and there's only one school in Langa that teaches art. Our workshop has been filling that gap, with the public workshops and sharing skills with them. People have twisted mindset that you have to be rich to give back, but we don't believe that. Our workshop has been giving back to the community with skills, information and knowledge.

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Ace thanks so much wow. What better endorsement could we have received!! What you say is so true but even more twisted in a way is that even people WITH the money dont give that OR THEIR time and energy and skills - YET!!! Thats what we hope to allow for much more in the future. We would like to be spreading this idea that lots of small pieces of tine shared by lots of people can lead to some real engagement, understanding and ultimately real change!!!

Photo of Sizwe Shumane
Team

yes Im angry to be here its very nice to as to working at Gugas Thebe in our workshop because we get more skills so we want to get more connection wet another people to c our work

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angry..??!
:D

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i mean agree

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Im glad you arent angey!!! ;D

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Team

it is the most awesome experience for the working space to grow and be more creative by sharing ideas, back then during the apartheid era the were few opportunities to compare to these years and especial for me as an emerging artist i just feel more welcome and strong partnership as i call a Family( our workshop).Ive been so grateful/blessed to work from a Cultural Centre also by telling,showing and sharing our historical story.

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Chulu yes yes yes. Thanks for this. What interests me is the exciting overlaps of Art, crafts and design we have at the workshop. As an emerging artist its cool to be aware of all these fields and to be able to slip in-between them and maximise all possible opportunities for entreprebeurship and cultural expression.

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Team

my name is khanyisiwe plaatjies.as a30year old young women whose been unemployed for a long tym,ive decided to join ourworkshop to learn any skill that can be my source of income.being a member of ourworkshop has bring back my confidence in so many ways.my role in our workshop is to take care of each and every challenges our workshop has each and every day.gorvment has failed us as youth as i was not employed but each and every contract i had in my working life has been 2 to 3yrs contract that where not that useful in my.women who live in my community that are same age as me are living in bad conditions that i myself was going to find myself in but thank god ourworkshop moved to langa as langa is the first township but limited oppoutunity for young people.hope ourworkshop will bring more opportunities that can bring a source of income as we are not employed but volunteer my time.

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Your role is to take care of each and every challenge! Oh Khanyisiwe!! Youre not alone my friend hahahahahahahaha!!!! This is great. Youre a very important part of the team as you know and your comments here are very useful - thanks for pointing out how many other young women we could be working with!!! We need them and they need us, so i hope that we can start to grow even more and welcome more female members.

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Josh Phillips @GinSam G Sam G  @Gina van der Ploeg here that we may be able to incorporate when we get together Monday to finalise this submission... things we do but that are not in the questions etcimportance of humour laughter and fun in the space and how we work all the timeThe facts about creative (design art craft) education in underprivileged schools across the country - lack of access to this for most kids, therefore our role in giving access to and literally showing the power of these subjectsOur outings to ZMOCAA and the SMAC - importance of these and how most Langa residents have never had the chance to see such thingsThe lack of access to data and therefore digital tools and communications - our ideas about an analogue version or what what
Acknowledgement that we are doing the work and providing something special but need more stability and money to be able to step back and do research into HOW what we r doing is working and WHY. And that we need to be doing more thorough documenting and reporting on our activities.

etc

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I think this is all fantastic.
And yes, OW IS doing all these things, but just a reminder that Bridge Builder is about DOING, not RESEARCHING. So i think, yes we need funds to be able to step back, but stepping back with funds will allow us the freedom to fully implement more regimented and regular workshops, employ outsiders and members to give these workshops, deal with the data connectivity problem (do we get wifi?), make the workshop safe and well-organised, get on the website, fully implement means on communication that we know are working... all these kinds of problems that are preventing us from functioning smoothly. Yes?

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100% YES AFFIRMATIVE ABSOLUTELY
there's no budget call for this yet, but all of the above are things we need to keep top of mind for when we have secured some funding

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Gina van der Ploeg Also an idea. Maybe you could start another submission with all this stuff I’m suggesting? And we combine them on Monday? Is it sensible? So you also get a good feeling for the application form???

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Gina van der Ploeg another one that came up yesterday is: so many ‘capacity building’ ventures run by the city of CT in Langa are TOTALLY UNSUCCESFUL and the city seems to blame the residents of Langa! “We are telling you all exactly what you need to know” but this is clearly wrong headed - because it isn’t working and it’s wasted a lot of money. So we are proving a different way of working - by not TELLING people anything but by actually DOING stuff together. Traditional 3-day seminars in English teaching people how to start an NPO hasn’t worked - totally unsurprisingly - but why would it?? Action over talking down to people.

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Gina van der Ploeg also to mention perhaps the idea of linking more with Lotte De Haan and her school Eindhoven Design Academy in a longer term partnership to Continue to allow us to educate the Europeans about the realities of life here - Lotte’s work has been strongly informed by OW and we have also grown a lot through her involvement. So about ways of seeing, ways of doing, different attitudes towards life and design etc

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Gina van der Ploeg also a note on what Lotte De Haan is contributing: a pdf we will add as an attachment - about work she’s doing with coke bottles. I’ll include you in the Whatsapp group now now... but it’s a method of sharing and encouraging experimentation via the most widely us d platform we’ve found so far - whatsapp. So also how we are finding ways to work through and with the restrictions we find as we work.

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testing this functionality Our Workshop Gina van der Ploeg Josh Phillips Sam G Heath Nash whats this tagging really for? How do we use it?

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Hey! Cool,

I think its a great way to perhaps tag members in other ideas that might provide inspiration or clarity? Heath Nash 

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yes... this has helped me to see it more clearly... i also mailed them and they said other team members can't work on the actual proposal via web. So what you suggest is a good idea... I think we should each take like 6 to 8 pages of submissions and read through for overlaps or learning/connection opportunities - and tag this account? like you suggest....

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Team

The description here of deep infrastructural and psychosocial divisions in Cape Town rings true, as does the principle of bringing people together in creative spaces as a means to begin to bridge them. Great idea!

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Hi Kristen. Thanks very much for this comment. I'm happy I could add you to the team!! I'm really excited to start working with you in Langa and to learn more about the borders/boundaries where you come from...

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Team

It is amazing that there aren't more community art centers in South Africa. Best wishes for continued growth!

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Hi Alexandra
there are community art centres around the country but our space at the centre we operate from is the first shared space - not dedicated to or monopolised by just a single artist. This is why we are unique and worth piloting, also why we are being so effective in attracting young new artists into spaces that have been literally blocking entry to new members for years. We are proving the effectiveness of a shared communal space within such community cultural centres. Thanks for the message I will clarify this fact.

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Ashley is this you?? from the webinar?? Ashley Tillman it wasn't you... I found you now...
I really need answers to my e-mails... Have you received them??
Specifically about the research points scoring. Please explain how that works.
thanks Heath Nash 

Photo of Eric Wilburn
Team

Hello, I appreciate your efforts to create community! How do you find is the best way to create a safe psychological space for such conversations?

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Thanks Eric! Wellll.... when you're busy making things together there's time and space for so much real connection... because making things especially in 'old fashioned' ways take a long time and you have to help each other (everyone learns and exchanges, it's not a didactic or hierarchical thing) and communicate. Aaaand there's no awkwardness or like "what do I say now" because everyone's chill and enjoying learning and for example stitching... Making is also a VERY uplifting thing to do!!
I'm busy filling in the form properly now... so please check back in! I will definitely include these points!!
Much appreciated!

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Josh Phillips how do we use this functionality of the platform??? testing testing